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The Secret World Column: So You Don’t Like TSW? I Don’t Care

By Shannon Doyle on August 05, 2014

Opinions are like…I’m not going to finish that sentence for the sake of the future of my career. But you know how it goes. And it seems a lot of people have opinions on The Secret World. In fact a lot of them are bad. So bad they bear repeating at least every two weeks. Or so they seem to think. So I’m going to break down a few of the ones I keep seeing over and over.

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“There’s Only 7 Active Buttons”

I have to say I am completely amazed to see this complaint so often in the comments. First off, if you actually play the game long enough there are eight. But that is just me being nitpicky. The real issue is that people are picking out The Secret World for something that many MMOs are doing. Guild Wars 2 is the perfect example. Thanks to China it has more than 7 million players. How many abilities to do you get? Ten. Ok, sure you can double that with weapon swapping and then there’s also the special cases of Elementalists and Engineers. But the basic principle is the same. In fact if you were to compare the gameplay of The Secret World and Guild Wars 2, TSW is by far a more complex and interesting game. But Guild Wars 2 isn’t the only one who has done this. Another popular example of it is Neverwinter. The fact is TSW started this fad, instead of having a million buttons that all do the same thing just ever so slightly different you have a system which always grows and evolves as you play through the game. This is the way The Secret World was designed to be played. It has a simple interface without a lot of buttons to give you a more atmospheric experience. If you can’t play a game like that, if you can’t accept that this is the way the game is meant to be played then you’re welcome to uninstall.

“Yeah, But….Funcom”

So many people climb aboard the Funcom hate bandwagon there’s just one caravan from Independence to Willamette Valley. (That’s an Oregon Trail joke for any of you not old enough to get it.) Okay, yeah, we get it. Funcom had a bit of trouble with the launch of their games. You know what else had trouble at launch? Every MMO ever. Elder Scrolls Online had gold spammers, Wildstar had name reservation issues. So sure, Funcom is known for bad launches. I suppose what Funcom really did worst of all was do it early on while the MMO genre was still new. So now whenever someone hears the name Funcom all they can do is cringe even though their track record is no worse than any other company. If you don’t play The Secret World because Funcom has rough launches then don’t play. But you know what? That isn’t my problem. If you hadn’t noticed TSW is well past launch now and it is a fantastic game. So sure, that excuse worked for the first few months, but you’ll need a new excuse now.

“Combat Sucks”

I am going to assume for the sake of this section we’re talking not about the complexity of the skill wheel, or the animations, though that will come later, but we’re talking about the actual act of combat. The hacking, slashing, and pewpewing against a enemy. There is no denying that picking up a sword and slashing away at zombies is easy mode. It just is. But if you pick up a game, play it on easy mode then complain it is too easy and don’t try a harder mode you have no room to complain. Now, maybe you have a problem I had when I was 12. I got really good at Civilization on easy mode. It was too easy really and I got bored. But I try bumping up the difficulty to medium and I would stop playing an hour later in a tearful fit of rage because I just could not win. If you’re twelve year old me then yes, please stop trying to play The Secret World, it just isn’t the game for you.

But if you pick up a sword because after reading the forums you find out it is the best weapon to use against hordes of undead and you’re complaining about the combat because all it consists of is “slice, slice” then you need to stop. Just stop. Go try the game and get yourself a shot-fun. Yes, I mean shotgun, but it is just so much fun it should be called a shot-fun. But if you did make it past the zombies and you kept using your sword, and you kept using those same 7 abilities you’ve had from the start…you’re doing it wrong. Your build, and even the powers you use are meant to evolve as you play the game. Now, I know I don’t have much room to talk here. I’ve been rocking claws/chaos since launch but I enjoy it and it has been working for me. So, no complaints from me. Basically what I’m trying to say is, if you think combat sucks then you did it wrong.

“The Animations Look Weird”

I will for a moment grant you that when you first start playing TSW everything feels a little…strange. It marches to the tempo of its own drummer. Things aren’t quite right. That is until you start getting into it. You start to realize that motions are a bit more realistic. Have you ever tried swinging a sword hard enough to slice a person in half and not moved your entire torso? Okay, in hindsight if you answer yes to this question you should perhaps turn yourself into the police. But the point I’m trying to drive at is that you need the torso twist to really get the momentum going.

Walking looks a little strange to you? Have you ever carried around a heavy hammer through zombie infested streets? Again, if you answer yes…please see a doctor. You crouch down, ready to pounce, a defence mechanism from when our ancestors still lived in trees. Prowl slowly, one foot in front of the other, your eyes darting from side to side as you keep an eye out for any movement. Because out here anything that is moving is either dead or needs to die. …I suddenly want to do some TSW fan fiction. Anyway! The animations may be a little bit less like you’re used to. But that doesn’t make them wrong. And that you feel the need to complain about them says more about you than it does the game.

Hopefully this helped you all a bit. Next time around I’ll be back to our regular TSW content. But this week I just needed to get this off my chest. Didn’t like what I had to say? You’re likely part of the problem.

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